Thursday, October 10, 2019

Homeschool art class

Homeschool students take art classes too. We found some really great art videos on YouTube

Saturday, October 5, 2019

I have half a subfloor in my bathroom. Tomorrow we lay the other half then put the furring strips on the wall and insulation. 

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Check her out!!! (the board is 1/2in thick the equivalent of breaking human ribs.) #IamaWarrior 

Break Boards

Most little girls ask for dolls or games dresses etc. My little girls how ever ask for break boards. These nifty plastic foam padded board are used for martial arts training. Basically it replicates a set of human ribs. There are different colors, each color takes a different amount of force to break, representing the amount of force it takes to break different bones in the human body. Instructors use them to teach students how to follow through with a punch or kick. It teaches them how much force they need to use to be able to effectively protect them selves. You would be amazed at how much confidence a student builds when they learn to break one of these re usable practice boards. This nifty little reusable board cost around $35.

In our association when kids turn 15 they can begin participating in board breaking during tournaments. 

Disclaimer: Board Breaking takes a lot of training and should always be supervised by a qualified instructor.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Weekend Finds

 I found these little gems today while I was at hobby lobby with the girls. I have been looking for knobs for the medicine cabinet and linen cabinet that I am making for my remodel project. They look amazing on the windows and I can’t wait to get the cabinets finished. I also scored the liner for the medicine cabinet and the feet for the linen cabinet along with hinges.  I can’t wait to finish them.
I received several of these squalor mason jars from a neighbor and last week I finally figured out what I want to do with them. Tooth brush and makeup brush holders for me and the girls. They are rustic and unique and I think they will be perfect with my window cabinets.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Today as I was leaving the office the incoming shift took a 911 call for an older gentleman that had been in a motorcycle accident. I briefly listened to the call information and when on my way. As I came in to town I caught this photo of AirVac lifting (I was parked when I took the photo don't flip out). I don't usually get to witness this end of the call. I am usually the one on the other side of the mike/phone. For those of us that live in rural communities AirVac is something we depend on when there is a medical emergency. Our amazing crew of volunteer First responders/Firefighters and our Paramedics/EMT's/work together with AirVac to take care of those who are severely injured.  If you ever have the chance to shake the hand of AirVac pilot or that of an EMT/Paramedic/FireFighter/First Responder you should. Thank these men and women who sacrifice so much to help those in need often times for little or no pay. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2019


Yes that’s a live un capped wire in the wall of my bathroom. It was just hanging out in there when I tore down the wall. This should be on everyone's don't do list when doing DIY bathroom remodeling projects.

We have finally made it to the insulation installation phase of the project. I hope to be in the tile installation phase of the project in the next week or so.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Wax melt project

I decided to try making my own wax melts. I used one part soy wax and one part paraffin wax. Then I used some various fragrance oils from my soap making supplies to make these cute little wax melts for my wax warmer. I have Vanilla Marshmallow Pumpkin, Amish Harvest, and Apple Bourbon. Some times I wish we had scratch and sniff computers. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

My School Year Homeschool Record Keeping Review

I was given the chance to review  My School Year Homeschool Record Keeping this year. I received an  Annual Membership Plan. This program is marked as an online homeschool tracking system. Since its an online program you can enter and track your child's homeschooling records any where you have internet. The program has lesson plan generators, grade tracking and calculating, attendance tracking, lesson sharing. You can track standardized test records, reading logs, extra-circulars awards. You can do all sorts of reports like transcripts, lesson plans, course descriptions, instructional hours, report cards. An annual  subscription plan is currently priced at $50 a year for unlimited students and has a price lock guarantee. 

I reviewed this program a few years back and decided to give it a try again. They have made some changes to the program and I decided I would like to take a second look and see if it might fit my current needs. The very first thing I recommend you do once you log in is hit the help section and watch all the help videos a couple times each.

Once I watched the videos I began to set up my school I found this easy to do. You simply select new school and then you enter the name of your school address and all other contact information and hit the add button. From there you will need to enter your students as well as your school year. Entering your students is very similar to setting up your school. You simply enter your students name and select a color for them. You can then add additional information about the student if you wish but it is not mandatory. I entered both of my students with just the basic information Name date of birth and wither or not I want to receive daily or weekly emails for that student.

From there you need to begin building your school year or terms as they seem to call it. In this section you enter the starting and ending date for your school year. You will select which days are school days and you can then choose your days off. Once you have made these choices you need to enroll the students in that school year. It has a button at the bottom of the page to enroll your student in that school year.

The next step would be to enter all the materials that you will be using in your school year. This is going to be curriculums, etc. There is a separate place where you can enter materials for reading logs/list. In these two different fields you can enter as much or as little information as you would like about the materials. I tend to enter all the information I have so this took me a bit of time to accomplish.

From there I started to enter my lesson plans. They offer some video tutorials right on the lesson plan page that you can click to get some help with entering the lessons.  I am going to recommend that you take the time to watch these video tutorials several times as I found entering lesson plans confusing. Here are you options for entering lesson plans. The Quick Split option is supposed to divide the material into evenly distributed lessons. Then the Quick Split Advanced creates more complicated lesson patterns. An example of this would be Read chapter 10-15, write a summary for chapter 12-15 etc. The Rapid repeat option creates pre selected number of lessons, You might use this for something you do daily or weekly like karate class or chores that they need to do. The Rapid Repeat Advanced will allow you to create a complex lesson name pattern. An example of this could be: read lessons 1-4, section A, watch video for lesson 1-4 and take notes. I felt like the Quick Split Advanced and the Rapid Repeat Advanced were quite similar. I would have liked to see an option to just enter the lessons one at a time. I found I would have to go back and edit individual lessons to get them exactly how I needed them. You do have the option to reschedule lessons if you need to. I have yet to have the need to use this option so I'm not real clear on if it shifts all the future lessons forward or if it just shift that one lesson to the next available school date.

Once your lessons are entered and assigned. You will handle most of your daily tracking from the Homeroom. From here you can click your different classes to mark off what lessons have been done and toe enter grades for those lessons. You can view graphs for attendance hours, standardize test, extra circular activities, awards etc. This is basically your go to section and you will spend most of your time here during the school year. You can click on each area to edit and add information as you need to.  I feel like its easy enough to navigate and fairly self explanatory.

My School Year offers reports for basically everything you can input into the program. If you are needing a report they probably offer one for it.  They even offer transcripts which I'm a ways off from needing. To do a report you go to the report area select what report you want to run. Then you choose the school year and the student you want the report for and it generates this nice little pdf report that you can either save or print off as you need them.

Over all I think this is a decent program. I like the selection of reports I feel like it covers every report that I might need. I am happy with the Homeroom as its easy to navigate. The only real down fall for me is creating the lesson plans. I still feel like its a little to complicated for me but I think I could probably get the hang of it after a while. I would love for everyone to click the banner below and see what other Crew Members think of this Record Keeping program.

Annual Membership Homeschool Record Keeping  {My School Year Homeschool Record Keeping Reviews}

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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

CTCMath Review

We have been using CTCMath for a while. This year we have chosen it again because its a great program.  We have received a 12-month Family Membership, for up to 5 students. This year I have a 5th grader and a 7th grader. Since I have talked about the 5th grade level in the past I am going to focus on 7th grade level. Which is called Basic Math and Pre-Algebra it has approximately 186 lessons. If you do one lesson per day you should be able to finish all the lessons in a school year. How ever I found that my daughters tend to need more than one day on a lesson to truly grasp and remember how to do the concept. I have been having them work and practice one assignment for an hour a day. The girls will start with the video lesson they watch it usually 2 times. Then they do the online practice questions. From there I have them print the printable worksheet. Once they complete the worksheet they go in and enter the answers to the work page in the worksheet tab so that the answers and grade can be recorded in the CTC program.

Taking a look at the topics and lessons that are covered in CTC compared with others that I have looked at I feel like it covers most everything that should be covered for 7th grade. A few of the topics that your child will go through during the course of a school year are:

Scientific Notation: Using a calculator

length conversions
significant figures
perimeter of a sector
divided bar graphs
The median
probability trees
travel graphs
frequency distribution table
fractional powers
introduction to exponents
finding a shorter side
problem questions
and many more

Both of the girls love the video lessons but they do find some videos confusing or a little short on explanation. They would like to see them create a chat type system where they would be able to ask questions when they get stuck and Mom's explanation is not working. I am in love in with the worksheets. Last year we didn't use them very much they just didn't work great for the girls. But this year they are really helping them score better on the diagnostic test  that I have them take at the end of each section. 

For each lesson the girls will click on a topic they need to work on. We do the topics in order for the most part because its just easier to see if they have done all the topics. They will watch the lesson video first. Some times they watch it more than once if they are having trouble understanding the lesson. If they have any questions the will ask me for help. They then click the question tab at the top of the page which takes them to the practice questions for that lesson. These are the questions that they do on the computer its self. It offers manipulatives for some of the questions so they can measure etc. right on the screen. The girls print out a printable worksheet which they will work out the problems with pen and paper. Once they complete the worksheet they will enter the answers into CTC and the program then gives them a grade on the work sheet. Showing them which ones they did right and wrong. I then have them work out the wrong answers a second time to see if they can find the mistake. If they are unable to find the mistake I sit down and go over the missed problems with them.

You have the ability to set up how your grades are calculated and what percentage is required to pass a topic. I have the girls set a little high so they are required to have a 80% to pass a topic. Once they have completed the questions and they feel they have a  good grasp on the topic they will complete on of the diagnostic test for the unit. There are both a long diagnostic test and a short diagnostic test. I typically use the short as a pre-test and the long as an end of course assessment. 

Some bonus items that CTC offers are the speed skills game and the times table shoot em up game. Both of these are great supplemental items that work well to get in some extra practice. the girls favorite out of the two games is the times table shoot em up game. In this game they are given a multiplication problem across the bottom of the screen, they then use a space ship to blast away the answers and earn points. Its fun and it makes practicing those dreaded multiplication tables less like class work and more like play time.

Over all I am still very pleased with CTCMath. So far everything is working out great for us and I hope you will click the banner below and see what the other Crew Members are saying about all the different grade levels in CTCMath.

                   Math 12-month Family Membership {CTCMath Reviews 2019}

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Thursday, August 8, 2019

The bathroom project has been at a stand still the last couple weeks. Mostly because I couldn't decide on a shower trim kit. What in the world makes these so expensive. I found one for $800 who spends $800 on a shower head valve and handle. I mean really folks this thing is going to wash the sweat and dirt off my body nothing else.  Now I might consider an $800 one for about 2 minutes if it was going to make and serve me coffee while I was in the shower but seriously people have gone crazy if they are really spending that kind of cash to get clean. So I began my search for something reasonable. I hit up the local DIY stores like homedepo and Menards. They gave me well two stiles and 2 color choices for each. I could have it in either chrome or bronze. Neither style appealed to me for the price. I quickly moved back to online shopping. I trolled around for a few days and finally found something on SALE that I though I could live with. The rough in valve, shower head and handle to turn it all off and on for around $100. I went with brushed nickel mostly because the sink we purchased a while back had brushed nickel knobs and I figured why not.

While I was trying to locate a shower trim kit that was not going to cost me my first born. My neighbor scored me not 1 but 2 old 6 pane wood windows. That's right folks BEST NEIGHBOR EVER!!!! The needed a little new glazing putty, and a little light sanding and paint touch up but over all they are in fantastic shape. One will be turned into a medicine cabinet. I bought the lumber for $20 I will run it through the plainer so its all the same size and then join the corners with biscuits a little paint and bam Ill have a medicine cabinet for under $30. I finished the glazing last weekend and I am hoping to build the cabinet half this weekend but we will see what the weekend holds.

My Shower trim kit will be in next week and I hope to start making some progress on it.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Apologia Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition Review

Gabby is excited to be using the brand new Science curriculum from Apologia called Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition. 

This is an all new updated curriculum that has recently come out. We are pleased to be some of the first families to get to use the 3rd Edition. This is designed to be a self guided Middle School (7th grade) curriculum. We received the Hardback General Science text book, Student Notebook, and the Test Manual (which includes one set of test pages) This curriculum also offers a Video Instruction Thumb Drive. The website states the it includes on-location videos, animations, instructor explanations, experiments etc. It also states that it is an optional supplemental product to use with the textbook, student notebook and solutions and test manual.

The student notebook includes things like:
Daily lesson plans,
A Break down of assignments telling them exactly what to do each day.
Pages for your student to take notes, prompts to help them learn how to pull useful information.
Space to record notes for the activities etc.

This edition is different from the other Apologia science curriculums that we have used in the past. Its different because its designed for your middle schooler to work independently with little to no help from the parent. The text book is written as if the teacher is talking directly to the student. It walks them through the experiments, guides them on taking notes and identifying information etc. Its a full color text book that is very easy for a middle schooler to follow independently. It is very much an open and go curriculum.

Gabby was disappointed that we did not receive the video supplement with this one but she jumped right into the program any way. We sat down and took a look at the student note book first of all. We through what a daily lesson plan way and how it worked. We took a look at the check off sheet where she could mark down when she had completed a lesson. We went through several of the lessons together to see what they were like and so I could answer any questions she might have on how to navigate it. Next we opened the text book its self. We looked through the pages and some of the experiments and activities it would be asking her to do. She took a look at the Test pages and we put them in a small binder so that she could keep them together.

So far she has been able to easily figure out what her required assignment is for the day. She checks the schedule first thing to see what she needs to complete. The schedule tell her what page numbers to do read in the student text book. It tells her which pages to complete in the student note book it also tells her which experiments to do for the day or which test is due. She has been able to follow the lessons and understand them quite well. She says the explanations are good and answer most of the questions she has. We have worked through several of the experiments so far she is doing well with being able to follow the instructions to be able to complete the experiments on her own. If you click on the video below you can see a short experiment video her and a cousin made doing one of the first experiments all on there own.

Farther along she did an experiment called Density and A Floating Egg the purpose of this experiment is to learn the importance of variables in an experiment while observing how an egg can float in saltwater vs tap water.  Gabby had fun with this one for some reason. She took it a bit farther than the experiment required by testing out differences in older eggs and freshly hatched eggs and how they floated in or didn't float in the same saltwater. Take a look at the pictures below. She took these her self  she said the egg finally floated after she mixed in 2 tbsp. of salt.  She reported back that the fresher the egg the better it floated. A warm egg straight from the chicken house floated the best with the least amount of salt needed.

As the teacher I looked through all the components of this set. I am pleased with the topics covered in the General Science 3rd Edition. It covers the vast majority of topics that are in our states GLE for public schools.  I feel like the text is well written and easy for her to follow. I like that the student notebook is set up so that she is self guided through the entire curriculum. She is at the age where she is taking more responsibility for her self and her class work. The check list really helps her do that and keeps her on track for getting the curriculum completed by the end of the school term. In the teachers solutions and test book I learned that the "On Your Own" and study guide questions are not graded. The student should be doing these parts of the curriculum and then checking his or her own work. Then at the end of each module they should complete the module test which the parent then grades. If they completed all the assignments in the module they should be able to score well on the test. Mots of the test are closed book test but there are two modules which they are allowed to use their notebook and student textbook.   I am really happy to see some test with this set. The previous sets do not have test and this frustrated me. I like having test to include in there portfolios. Test are not only a part of the girls over all grade but they need to learn test taking skills to prepare them for high school and college or vocation training. I was also very pleased to see a solutions or answer key for the test. Since the "On Your Own" and study guide assignments are self checked I assign point for completion to help me with grading.  I think the video thumb drive instruction would be a great edition to the set especially for a working mom like me. But it is a little out of my budget range. If it was in my budget range I would order it in a heart beat. Because I know the quality of the curriculum and I have no doubt that the videos will be just as great. Everything in the set we received is spot on and I am very pleased with the new edition.

I encourage everyone to click the link below and read other Crew Family Reviews are saying about Apologia General Science 3rd Edition.

Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition. {Apologia Reviews}
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